Guide – Lenovo ThinkPad T61 processor upgrade

This blog post is intended to explain how can you start your Lenovo ThinkPad T61 processor upgrade drive due to a multitude of limitations and issues like lost fan speed, no support for Windows 10, showing slower performance, etc. Below is the list of processors (following 800MHz Front Side Bus CPUs) that you can choose to upgrade.

NameModelFrequencyL2 CacheClassPowerLithographyBase Voltage
T5270Core 2 Duo1.4 GHz2MBMerom35 W65 nm1.075V-1.250V
T5670Core2 Duo1.8 GHz2MBMerom35 W65 nm1.0375V-1.30V
T7100Core 2 Duo1.8 GHz2MBMerom35 W65 nm1.075V-1.250V
T7250Core 2 Duo2.0 GHz2MBMerom35 W65 nm1.075V-1.250V
T7300Core 2 Duo2.0 GHz4MBMerom35 W65 nm1.075V-1.250V
T7500Core 2 Duo2.2 GHz4MBMerom35 W65 nm1.075V-1.250V
T7700Core 2 Duo2.4 GHz4MBMerom35 W65 nm1.075V-1.250V
T7800Core 2 Duo2.6 GHz4MBMerom35 W65 nm1.075V-1.250V
X7800Core 2 Extreme2.6 GHz4MBMerom44 W65 nm1.100V-1.375V
X7900Core 2 Extreme2.8 GHz4MBMerom44 W65 nm1.100V-1.375V
T8100Core 2 Duo2.1 GHz3MBPenryn35 W45 nm1.000V-1.250V
T8300Core 2 Duo2.4 GHz3MBPenryn35 W45 nm1.000V-1.250V
T9300Core 2 Duo2.5 GHz6MBPenryn35 W45 nm1.000V-1.250V
T9500Core 2 Duo2.6 GHz6MBPenryn35 W45 nm1.000V-1.250V
X9000Core 2 Extreme2.8 GHz6MBPenryn44 W45 nm1.000V-1.275V

The list of motherboards you can opt for 3 different form factors (14.1-inch standard, 14.1-inch widescreen, and 15.4-inch widescreen) includes:

FRUCPUAspect RatioGraphic SystemManufacturedModelCompatibility
14.1 WideScreen
41w1487Merom16:10Intel X31002007T61T61 R61
41w1489Merom16:10nVidia nvs140m2007T61T61 R61
43y9044Merom16:10nVidia nvs140m2008-2010T61T61 R61
42w7866Penryn/Merom16:10Intel X31002008T61T61 R61
42w7867Penryn/Merom16:10nVidia nvs140m2008T61T61 R61
44c3933Penryn/Merom16:10nVidia nvs140m2008-2010T61T61 R61
14.1 Standard
42w7648Merom4:3Intel X31002007T61T61/p T60/p* R61″
42w7649Merom4:3nVidia nvs140m2007T61T61/p T60/p” R61″
43y9045Merom4:3nVidia nvs140m2008-2010T61T61/p T60/p* R61″
42w7650Merom4:3nVidia fx570m 128mb2007T61pT61/p T60/p* R61″
43y9046Merom4:3nVidia fx570m 128mb2008-2010T61pT61/p T60/p” T61″
42w7872Penryn/Merom4:3Intel X31002008T61T61/p T60/p” R61″
42w7873Penryn/Merom4:3nVidia nvs140m2008T61T61/p T60/p* R61″
44c3924Penryn/Merom4:3nVidia nvs140m2008-2010T61T61/p T60/p* R61*
42w7874Penryn/Merom4:3nVidia fx570m 128mb2008T61pT61/p T60/p* R61*
44c3926Penryn/Merom4:3nVidia 6x770m 128mb2008-2010T61pT61/p T60/p* R61″
15.4 Widescreen
42w7651Merom16:10Intel X31002007T61T61 T61p T60 T60p
42w7652Merom16:10nVidia nvs140m2007T61T61 T61p T60 T60p
43y9047Merom16:10nVidia nvs140m2008-2010T61T61 T61p T60 T60p
42w7653Merom16:10nVidia 6x570m 256mb2007T61pT61 T61p T60 T60p
43y9048Merom16:10nVidia fx570m 256mb2008-2010T61pT61 T61p T60 T60p
42w7875Penryn/Merom16:10Intel X31002008T61T61 T61p T60 T60p
42w7876Penryn/Merom16:10nVidia nvs140m2008T61T61 T61p T60 T60p
44c3928Penryn/Merom16:10nVidia nvs140m2008-2010T61T61 T61p T60 T60p

The variant of ThinkPad we are using is 14.1-inch widescreen and the ingredients for your transformation drive include:

  • Two Lenovo 44C3933 motherboards (one extra for a backup if anything goes wrong)
  • New CPU Fan Heatsink Discrete for IBM Lenovo ThinkPad T61
  • Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000 2.8GHz Processor

Stock Configuration

A stock Lenovo T61 ThinkPad features preinstalled Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 processor with a 2Ghz clock frequency on a 65nm architecture. The said processor belongs to an Intel Merom lineup with 35W TDP, integrated into the Intel PM965 motherboard chipset. The motherboard in the stock setup can sustain a maximum of two 4GB RAM strips. The device is flashed with Lenovo’s firmware to update the Embedded Controller (EC) to version 1.8. The motherboard has an integrated NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M graphics adapter that consumes 1.15-1.2V of power as well as a Samsung SSD-840 Series Solid State Drive for storage.

The stock motherboard features:

Aspect Ratio16:10
Graphic SystemNvidia NVS 140m

The stock T7300 processor offers the following features:

ModelCore 2 Duo
Frequency2.0 GHz
L2 Cache4MB
Power35 W
Lithography65 nm
Core Voltage1.075V-1.250V

Upgraded Configuration

In this Lenovo ThinkPad T61 processor upgrade drive, we have opted for Lenovo Motherboard Model 44C3933 that is fully compatible with the Penryn and Merom processor with the same Nvidia NVS140m GPU. 

Aspect Ratio16:10
Graphic SystemNvidia NVS140m
CompatibleT61 R61

We are going to choose the top-of-line processor from the list of supported CPUs that is the Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000 Penryn Class CPU with 6MB of integrated cache and 2.8Ghz clock speed. The selected CPU features a TDP of 44W and 45nm architecture. 

ModelCore 2 Extreme
Frequency2.8 GHz
L2 Cache6MB
Power44 W
Lithography45 nm
Core Voltage1.000V-1.275V

After dissembling the laptop. Remove the stock heatsink/cooler on the top of your processor. Replace the existing motherboard with the new one (44C3933) and it will take an hour. Be careful if you doing this for the first time.

Deploying the X9000 processor is super easy due to its pin-for-pin compatibility with the mPGA478 socket. 

After installing all the necessary components, the BIOS correctly identifies the new processor. Now your system is almost ready to bear loads like never before. For instance, You can even install Windows 10 Pro for an improved user experience.

Voltage Control

Install TP Fan Control to ensure the heat sink is working properly and maintaining the CPU temperatures perfectly. Most people use Throttle Stop to reduce the CPU’s power consumption (while maintaining the CPU multiplier at 14x). Install this utility and reduce the voltage to 1.0875. 

Now you are ready to go. The roadmap we followed for the ThinkPad T61 processor upgrade lacks any overclocking although people experienced some positive outcomes by kicking up the unlocked multipliers by altering and managing voltage with Throttle Stop and TP Fan Control to change fan speeds and keep temperatures lowered due to the increased TDP. You can opt for the T9300 or T9500 CPUs which could easily be clocked up to 2.8Ghz using IDA but the permanent solution needs physical modification of the motherboard. 

End Words

The final outcome is incredible. At the end of the Lenovo ThinkPad T61 processor upgrade drive, the resultant system with 8GB of RAM can easily sustain loads of Windows 10 effectively. The processor we opt for is not officially supported by T61 so careful monitoring of temperature is highly recommended.

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